Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton v Portsmouth: 'Success' for 'coach bubble' tactics

Southampton fans arriving at Fratton Park
Image caption Southampton fans were taken in to and out of Portsmouth under police escort in December

Police have declared security measures for a match between Southampton and Portsmouth as "safe and successful".

About 3,200 Pompey fans were bussed to the match and escorted to and from Southampton's St Mary's Stadium for the Championship fixture.

Five fans were arrested and six were ejected from the stadium. One fan was slightly hurt when he was hit with a coin.

A full house of 31,743 fans attended the match. It ended in a 2-2 draw.

The "coach bubble" tactic was also used at the Fratton Park derby in December.

Police say bussing away fans in and out meant there was no disorder and very few arrests.

Supt Rick Burrows said: "The feedback we had from fans and members of the public after the match in December was overwhelmingly positive and supportive of what we did to achieve a safe outcome for all."

Mr Burrows said the plan did not please everybody but they had tried to make it more "customer-friendly" by working with the clubs.

Fans searched

More than 40 coaches left the two departure points of Fratton Park and Lakeside (North Harbour), escorted by police.

About 250 officers were on duty in Southampton.

Fans were searched to check if they were carrying missiles, weapons, flares or smoke bombs.

Officers will remain on patrol in Southampton city centre throughout the evening.

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